Austral Enclaves

From Obscura

Culture

The Austral Enclaves are based in the southern region of tundra, stretching to frigid wastes, where they live in isolated communities around natural resource deposits. While they lack food, they are rich in silver and minerals, which they export as trade. With their plentiful silver, thaumaturgy is ubiquitous in the Enclaves, and is a major reason the Enclaves are sustainable. Enclaves are built as densely populated fortresses to protect against the predators and harsh environment of the wastes, and also to increase the efficiency of the thaumaturgic techniques used to sustain them.

Life in an Enclave is very regimented and ordered, due to the difficulty of the conditions in which they live, and resources and free time are strictly rationed based on position within the Enclave. However the Enclaves also value loyalty and community; while there is a very definite hierarchy, even the lowest in society aren’t allowed to starve or freeze, and are encouraged to improve themselves so that they can join a Cabal and contribute to the Enclave.

Names

Enclave first and middle names tend to be based on either traditional short English names or Scandinavian or Slavic names.

Examples: Jack, Jane, Ingrid, Magnus, Ivan, Nadia.

Enclave surnames are traditionally matronymic or patronymic, with the surname taken from the parent of higher status. The other surname is also sometimes included as a middle name.

  • Examples: Jackson, Ingridschild, Nadiavic.

Cabals are usually named after abstract concepts that relate to their function or philosophy.

Politics

Most in the Enclaves are members of groups called Cabals, each of which has a defined function in the Enclave, including a ruling Cabal. Each Cabal jealously guards the thaumaturgic techniques they use to perform their function, to secure their position. The Enclaves themselves are also a hierarchy; smaller Enclaves are vassals under larger Enclaves, giving up their sovereignty for the guarantee of protection and support if needed. All of the Enclaves are ultimately ruled over from the capital, Bastion.

While there’s a natural inclination for Enclavees to join the Cabal of their parents, Cabals also accept individuals from outside their familial lines when they come of age, especially if they show talent for thaumaturgy. While talented individuals can improve their station within their Cabal, mobility between Cabals is difficult after coming of age, since leaving is considered disloyal; as a result only the most exceptional choose to make the jump to try to better their station later in life. Since joining a Cabal is a life-long commitment for both sides it's not a decision taken lightly, but most join a Cabal eventually. Before fully joining a Cabal people are usually assigned work duties under one.

Geography

The Enclaves have no contact with neighbours other than Venucci and Clare to the north, with a natural border formed between the two nations by the Fulcrum Mountains. To the south the wastes become uninhabitably cold. They have no interest in exploring the Western Sea ice, due to its lack of mineral wealth on which the Enclaves rely, and the storms in the Western Sea sea make naval exploration even more difficult. Meanwhile, to the east the mountains become impassably high. This rather suits the Enclaves' isolationist attitude. The coast south of Clare becomes very rocky, and then becomes steadily more icy. As result, there is little sea travel along the coast, and most transport between Enclaves is overland. The wastelands have strong predators that will attack isolated travellers, and of course the conditions can become difficult quickly, even in the north, so overland travel is almost exclusively in caravans.

Look and Feel

Enclavees would typically wear thick, either layered or fur-lined, robes or tunics in the south, but they are usually reduced to thinner robes or tunics when in more temperate climes like Clare. Enclave culture tends to favour simple designs and simple block colour schemes; avoid too many decorative elements or too complex a colour scheme. A simple cloth symbol or tabard signifying group membership is somewhat common. Conspicuous consumption is not really a thing in Enclave culture, so high status and low status individuals tend to dress similarly, except for a symbol denoting badge of office if applicable.

As a result, much generic fantasy kit works for the Enclave cultural look. A classic plain robe or T-tunic for example A utilitarian "ranger" outfit would also work for those that spend a lot of time outside. If you want to be more aspirational, you can add fur (though it should appear to be primarily for warmth rather than decorative) or add additional layers.